EcoGeek believes in the power of technology. We're optimists...full of hope in a field that was once hopeless. I honestly think we have a chance of feeding 10 billion people in 2050 without completely destroying the planet. It's not going to be easy, but it is possible.
But there are some technological solutions that simply scare my pants off. Geoengineering, the idea that we are smart enough to put the natural systems of the earth under human control, is one of those ideas.
With the possible exception of the human mind, the Earth is the most complex system in the universe. Life ads so many variables to equations that a computer the size of our planet (run by the mice, of course) wouldn't be able to calculate the outcome of a butterfly beating its wings in Mongolia.
It's no secret that we've already begun geoengineering...though, accidentally. Generally, we call this "climate change." And attempting to restore a natural balance is probably one of the most intelligent things we can do as a race.
But to start pouring many tons of calcium hydroxide into the oceans in an attempt to decrease the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is akin to shoving a rod into your brain and hoping you come out the other side a happier person.
You can identify the region of your brain responsible for depression. And you can carefully measure the length of the rod. But once you shove it in there and start wiggling...no one has any idea what's going to happen. And while lobotomizing a patient is bad, irreparably damaging the Earth is what we call the apocalypse.
The local affects on ocean chemistry would certainly be deadly as the pH shot up. But on a large scale, the acidity of the ocean would likely not decrease at all. To change the pH of the entire ocean is not so simple.
In the end, the solar energy needed to create the lime would probably reduce CO2 far more if it were just fed into the grid. Plus, we wouldn't have to worry about accidentally breaking our planet.
written by The Food Monster, July 22, 2008
written by conor, July 22, 2008
written by Patrick, July 22, 2008
written by Robert Wood, July 23, 2008
written by Chris Unitt, July 31, 2008
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